I offer here suggestions for individuals and organizations who wish to host relatively high-attendance vegan waffle parties. This is based upon several years of hosting house parties with around 40 guests over a 4- to 5-hour span, in a modestly-sized rowhouse. I decided to post this after a 2010 vegan waffle party host, Cruelty Free WA in Australia, noted that their first-ever party might draw more than 70 people.
Remember that a waffle party does not have to be a large event. It can be an intimate gathering of 3 or 4 close friends, relatives, or neighbors; or it can be an energetic spectacle of 100 guests. While it’s always great to connect with more people, the size depends largely on what you enjoy the most, and your own specific purposes for throwing the party. That being said, here are a few pointers to help ensure that you and your guests have a great time while enjoying delicious food:
- Measure out the wet & dry portions of your batters in advance, as shown in the photos. If you’re using more than one recipe, clearly label which bowl of dry goes with which jar of wet ingredients. Then mix the wet and dry portions together shortly before baking. This will save significant time and energy during the event. It’s difficult to focus on things like measuring accurately while you’re chatting it up with interesting guests.
To balance efficiency with waste reduction, I usually mix batches large enough to make 8 waffles–this often means doubling a recipe. For yeast-raised waffles, you’ll have 3 separate portions: the yeast-raised portion that was left to rise for several hours, the additional liquid ingredients that get added shortly before baking, and the baking powder which doesn’t get dissolved in the liquid until you’re ready to mix the liquid into the yeast-raised portion.
Unused batches with the wet and dry portions still separate can be stored for later use.
- To estimate the number of waffle makers needed, use 12 waffles per hour per iron as a rough estimate for an average non-industrial waffle maker. This will obviously increase or decrease depending upon how many people are helping with the cooking, and how well you’re working together. Waffles may bake in 3 to 5 minutes, but it also takes a bit of time to pour the batter, get the waffles off the iron, and re-spray the grids with oil. Some irons need a small amount of recharge time between waffles before the “ready” light comes back on.
- Break or cut waffles into quarters before serving. I use a pizza cutter and place them on a large plate near the irons. This way, more people can start eating and trying toppings sooner and then come back for seconds, thirds, and so on. This not only keeps hungry guests from having to wait as long before eating anything, but it also gives the earliest guests more opportunity to try some of the toppings that arrive a bit later. Notice the pile of waffle quarters in the introductory photo above. (Thanks to Jen for this great suggestion that I now use every year.)
- Try any new recipe at least once before your event.
- Have at least one spare iron on hand in case a “sticking tragedy” temporarily disables one of your irons.
- Minimize traffic passing through the space where you’re baking. For example, if you’re baking waffles in the kitchen, put a cooler with drinks in the dining room.
- Put out both nametags and topping name/ingredient tags, just as you would for a regular potluck. Don’t forget to put an ingredient tag on the plate where you’re piling your freshly baked waffle quarters.
- If your space or waffle-making capacity is limited, consider having two arrival times with a capped number of attendance slots. For a few parties, I set up both 6pm and 8pm “ticket types” through Eventbrite.com, and let people know that I’d be baking fresh waffles around those times. In between the baking sessions, I’d take breaks to mingle with guests, sample the various toppings, and help my partner with other host-related duties.
I hope these tips help you on your path to throwing highly enjoyable and successful vegan waffle parties. Happy waffling!